Disable access to the Windows registry

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Valery Aloyants
@valeryaloyants

Let's imagine the following scenario: a computer, multiple administrative users (or anyway with elevated privileges) and someone who regularly enjoys making system changes that others do not like - for example by modifying registry entries.


All of this can be avoided by disabling access to the Windows registry! This is a fairly complex but completely reversible operation that allows an administrator user to prevent, a priori, access to the Windows registry by displaying an error message in its place. Before proceeding, we recommend that you read this guide in all its parts paying close attention to the various warnings.


To disable access to the Windows registry we can act in two different ways; the first is to use the registry itself and can be used in all versions of Windows.

Preliminary information

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The second, on the other hand, requires access to the group policy editor - a tool available in the Pro, Ultimate, Enterprise and Educational versions of the operating systems.


Since both procedures affect important parts of the operating system, we strongly recommend create a registry backup to restore in case of problems.

 

The advice is to stick to the use of the suggested tools only as illustrated in this guide; a distraction or incorrect modification can compromise the functioning of the entire system. We will not be held responsible for any damage resulting from the misuse of these instructions.

Disable access to the Windows registry

Through the registry

NOTE: : this method it must absolutely not be used if it is present on the computer only one user or onsingle system administrator account: this would permanently prevent access to the system registry without the ability to reset it. We will not take any responsibility for the use of this guide and ignore this recommendation.

To disable access to the Windows registry via the registry itself, we will first have to log into the system with the user to whom we intend to apply the restrictions. On Windows 7 these must previously be "promoted" to administrator (if not already), while in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 it is sufficient to enter the password of the administrator user when prompted.

Once this is done, we open the registry by typing the key combination WIN + R and writing the command inside it

regedit.exe


followed by Enter. Once this is done, let's go to

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPolicies

And we look for the sub-key System. If it is not present, let's create it by doing click destro su Policies and selecting New> Key. Let's give the new key its name

System

Now right-click on the newly created key (or on the one already present) and select New> DWORD Value (32-bit). Let's give the new Value its name

DisableRegistryTools

as shown in the picture.

Double click on the value just created and, in the Value Data field, insert and let's OK.


Now we close the register: from this moment will no longer be accessible current user. We can log out of the current user and possibly reset him as a Standard user, if necessary.

To restore access to the registry, let's re-log in from the user for which we want to reactivate it (if necessary "promoting" it temporarily as an administrator) and we open a command prompt in administrator mode. To do this we access the Start menu, we write cmd in the search field, right click on the result obtained and select Run as administrator.

Now, in the prompt, we type the command

reg add "HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystem" / t Reg_dword / v DisableRegistryTools / f / d 0

And we restart the computer: the situation will be back to normal. We possibly remove the administrator permissions from the user in question.


Through the Group Policy Editor

This procedure must also be performed for each user to whom we intend to apply the restriction but, instead of logging in with each one, we can create a user group to restrict via the Group Policy Editor, following the instructions outlined in our previous guide.

We double click on the console created or, if we preferred to act manually, we press the key combination WIN + R and write the command inside it

gpedit.msc

followed by Enter. Now let's go to User Configuration> Administrative Templates> System and, in the right part of the window, we look for the item "Prevent access to registry editing tools”And double click on it.

In the configuration window that follows we put the check on Activated, then we give OK and restart the computer: the user (or the defined user group) will no longer be able to access the system registry.


To restore access, all we have to do is repeat the procedure and, in the configuration panel, put the check mark on "Not configured" or "Disabled".

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